Hello everyone. RockSugar, the Cheesecake Factory's new Asian-themed restaurant, just opened today at the Century City Mall. I am planning to check it out on Saturday night. Are any other 'hounds going to check it out as well? While I am not expecting the food at RockSugar to be groundbreaking, I am sure that it will provide some strong competition to Houston's and Gulfstream (especially at lunchtime.) The best part is that reservations to the restaurant can be made online at opentable.
Btw, although the menu isn't available online yet, here's a link to their website: http://www.rocksugarpanasiankitchen.com/
i went last saturday for a free lunch... it was a promo for people who live in the area... it was good. the ambiance was wonderful, very beautiful during the day. we're going tomorrow night for dinner to see how it's at night, it looks like it'd be great with all the lighting (lack of lighting). the food was fine, good enough if you realize it's the cheesecake people (who i hate, service at cheesecake always sucks!), but you're paying for the ambiance and the location which is definitely great. the service so far was excellent but then again it was a trial run for the servers and everyone.
recommendations: their drinks (i had a mix tea and fruit drink, non-alcoholic) are excellent, it's a definite recommendation. the food, i'd go for the seafood (fish dishes) they looked better and were larger portions than the meat dishes (which we ordered, beef). the dessert was to die for (chocolate cake).
Went last night with a party of six. Very interesting space.....overdone, maybe, but it's such a big restaurant that the scale of everything seems to fit. The food was better than I expected: a couple of fresh salads (one with mango....another with grapefruit, jicama), a wonderful salmon, tasty whole sea bass (thought difficult to serve, since everything is family style), a terrific tuna with avacadoes. The portions, even for appetizers, are quite large....and we definitely ordered too much. They let us cancel a couple of things, since dishes come out as they're prepared. The staff was very nice, though pretty "slammed." We waited a long time for drinks, though they were quite good, (especially the Asian bellini) The food came pretty quickly and in a pleasant procession. There was a bit of a hitch towards the end. My friend had mentioned, when she made the reservation (weeks ago), that we were celebrating a birthday. But at the end of the meal, when they brough the check, she mentioned it and they had no record of it. (I know...probably risky to do on opening night....but still) They said they would send something out in a few minutes. We waited 45. I finally mentioned it to the manager. They were very apologetic and sent several things out within minutes. The manager and Michael, the general manager, came to the table and apologized again. They spent a little time with us, making sure we were happy. It was a nice response to the lapse.
Another clever thing--if you have leftovers, you pick them up on the way out in a nice little "shopping style." Looks good....and good advertising, I suspect.
I have money invested on Cheesecake factory stocks (yes - it hurts) and wanted to see how their newest concept looks like. I went there on 06/21/08 for lunch with my girlfriend. Place is beautiful and unique. Everyone should go here at least once.
Food = B
Service = A+
Ambience = A+
Food: I was born in Sri Lanka. Also, I have been to Singapore, Thailand many times. So I could tell you that this is definitely not authentic Indian, Malay etc. food. Since the main chef was born in Singapore (Ismail), I was expecting to see more authentic food.
Coconut Lassi = It was too salty. Tasted like a Pina Colada.
Mango Lassi = my girlfriend had this. she liked it.
Chicken Tikka = I didn't like it. But my girlfriend loved it. Lots of Indian spices. Spices were too bitter if you ask me.
Thai vegetable curry = Everyone must try this. Very good. Tofu in there was great.
Sea Bass = It was good but too expensive for $20. Probably had less than $5 of fish.
Princess Chicken = This was very nice but it was not spicy enough. I'll order again.
Warm Chocolate cake = Great. LOVE IT.
Food was not authentic and spicy enough for me, but I think most people would like it. Definitely better than uncle PF Chang’s
Service = Service was great. Definitely better than the service I used to get in Sri Lanka or Apollo Banana Leaf in Singapore
Ambience = Great.
So, I think Cheesecake Factory should be able to open another 20-25 of Rocksugars
Everything is around 10-40. Portions are TINY, compared to other Cheesecake outlets. They keep saying that it's a family style restaurant, they stress it over a dozen times. Then when the food came out, we all laughed about that and picked a dish to eat.
OK taste, nothing special. Rather head to Thai Town or Little Tokyo, for something tastier and reasonably priced. We had the clay pot beef, was OK, only beef, not really any veggies of sides with it. the coconut soup was good, but rather have it with seafood and not chicken. Carmel Chicken was like Panda Express, clams and mussels had no flavor. The rice is separate, expect to pay over 15 dollars on rice for 4 people. and even then you wish you had more. The rice portion is about a 1/2 cup for $3.50. If you want veggies, have to order those separate as well. Again, small portions.
I'm not about huge portions, but after $150 for the four of us, everyone was still hungry afterward.
the decor is nice, but I'm eating the food at that's what matters.
I won't be back.
I think a "B" for the food is......generous.......After having been here, there are two ways to look at these places.
1. Is an entryway for people to explore more authentic versions of these foods in other restaurants
2. The amazingly oversalted yes still somehow very bland versions become the standard expectation that then infects other restaurants.
My fear is #2
Food - C+ at best
Service - B-
Ambiance - B-
This is white people trying to do Asian food without fully understanding the intricate balance of spices. Just like PF Changs uses all sweet hoisin flavors on all their dishes to cater to American taste, Rocksugar tries to do the same but fails miserably. There is a reason why all these traditional dishes have been around for thousands of years because it works. If you really want a great example of Pan Asian food you might have to fly to Seattle to try Wild Ginger restaurant.
re: Eastcoast foods nob
i hate white people. wait..i am white. but this is defintly not an authentic restruant..but it doesnt really portray it as is. its more of like an adult disneyland resturant. all the food was decent but not great. i would have liked to have more spicy and flavors but i think its more for mainstream people/tourists. the family style was a joke. when the food came out i asked if their idea of a family was a single parent and baby. waited an hour and a half on the patio waiting for our table and the cocktain waitress came by once. once inside the service was good. the whole crab entree in red sauce is a freakin mess. dont order that. looked like the oj scene afterwards.
re: Eastcoast foods nob
Had lunch there with a friend today. Walking into the space, which is impressively large, thought the decor was overdone...and the plants in the huge planters in the foyer are nearly all plastic. Hmm. The dining room continued the theme of soaring space, with over-the-top decor, more like a stage set than a restaurant.
But it is comfortable. We were walked to a booth, its tabletop furnished with placemats, a rectangular stoneware charger (both in earth tones) western tableware, wooden chopsticks in paper wrappers, and polished black stones. Assuming that customers can't figure out themselves that the stones are chopstick rests,, our waiter almost immediately pulled our chopsticks out of their wrappers (without separating them) and set them on the stones (which seemed like a breach of chopstick etiquette, considering this was before we'd ordered, before we'd been given hot towels, and before we'd had a chance to move them ourselves). Strange.
The food wasn't bad though. We shared a green papaya salad and some kind of grilled chicken that had tasty little bits of kumquat, sugar snap peas, asparagus (uncredited: maybe they ran out of peas?) and tangy sauce that could have had lemongrass. The chicken tasted very fresh, though they could have used more kumquat (it looked like only one or two sliced kumquats for the entire dish). The plate presentations were attractive. I also had a Thai iced tea ($4) which was not in a large glass and had even more ice than one would get in a Thai place. One soft drink, a salad, and one meat dish added up to about $30 not including tip: not for hearty eaters on a budget (and this was lunchtime; not sure if the prices are different in the evening).
Since it's nearby, I'll probably go back sometime. The atmosphere is pleasant enough (if you don't mind kitschy decor) and so's the food. The extensive--almost too extensive-- menu is fun to read. But don't expect a real Chow kind of place.